Friday, September 23, 2011


Plans for the Grand Canyon are set.  First night at the Cameron Post Trading Lodge.  Next morning drive north to Page – tour Antelope Canyon.   Drive to the Grand Canyon (east entrance) – check in to our in-park lodge for 2 nights.  After leaving the GC we’ll head to Sedona where we’ll spend another 2 nights.  Our last day will be spent driving, then turning in our car at the airport and taking the shuttle back to the hotel.  Done. 

Now I get to figure out how to make this Italy trip work.  We want to be gone probably 25 days – that’s about 3 weeks of actual vacation time, minus the travel days.  We need to be back in the states no later than April 25th  Leaving before the end of March may or may not make the fare lower.  We want to rent a car and drive through Slovenia.   Flying in and out of Venice would be perfect for that, but flying into Venice costs WAAAY more than flying into Rome.  Why is that???    Now we could fly into Rome since I sort of wanted to spend a few days there last time and didn’t get to…… Plus we do want to visit Umbria.  Wendy might be the only one there – ooh, maybe Keith and Janine, maybe Belinda and Giacomo won’t have gone on the road for the season yet…..

Okay, so if we flew into Venice (and paid more), would it be worth it in travel expense savings?  We could train it to Trieste, then take a taxi across the border where I’m betting it’s a LOT cheaper to rent a car!  We can then drive to the capital city (don’t ask me to spell it yet, I’m just learning this stuff), spend a day or two here, I know there are some cool caves to see, plus of course there’s Lake Bled, which looks like a fairy tale from the right angle.  There has been talk of driving north to Vienna, perhaps a 2 hour drive?  Anyway, then back to Venice, turn in the car, maybe spend the night in Venice, or somewhere on the trainline.  Ferrara is on the list now, we missed it last fall.  I don’t know if it’s on the trainline, but I’m so afraid of those cameras on the autostrada!  Just a few kilometers over the speed limit and BAM!, a ticket arrives in you mailbox a few months later.  No thanks!

So, train it as far south as we can get, Ferrara, Chiusi, maybe even Perugia, then pick up a rental car for 3 or 4 days in Umbria.  Have to eat at Angelino and Peppa’s, the pizza place in Cannara, and Simone’s restaurant in Bevagna.  Oh, and visit the Perugina factory – chocolate bananas are running low.  After that turn in the car and train it to Florence for a few days, then  back to Venice for our last night.

If we flew in and out of Rome we’d probably skip Florence, do Rome at the beginning, train to Oriveto, rent a car and stay in Umbria for 3 or 4 days.  Take the train up to Venice, stopping at Ferrara if possible for one night.  Once in Venice I think we’d leave right away, training through Venice, on to Trieste.  Guess you gotta spend a day exploring Trieste, right?  Okay, then take a taxi across the border and explore Slovenia for – 5,maybe 6 days?  I need to go back and see how many days that would be.   ***TIME OUT***  Okay, that looks like about 17 days so far, so we would have time to stop in Ferrara, and to spend some time in Rome and maybe even Florence.  Gosh, now I need to flesh this out and think about the timing.  Perhaps after Slovenia we could train it back down to Florence, then take the train to Rome for our flight home.  Is that any more expensive than flying in/out of Venice and having to get as far south as Umbria?  In the end we might break even, so then what makes more sense - or is that just a question with no right answer?

I think we can also fly into Florence, but that would require a plane change in Europe, and I want a direct flight.  And now we have to figure out what’s a good price, and when are we likely to see ‘sale’ prices, or should we buy NOW?   This is the part I hate, trying to find the best schedule at the best price.  Sometimes I find the WORST schedule – flying into Heathrow but having to get over to Gatwick for the connecting flight! – and quite often it’s at a pretty bad price – who buys these tickets and let’s airlines strand us in airports for hours on end – aren’t we paying them to actually get us somewhere???  Okay, don’t  get me started. 

Now I need to make a shopping list – Eggplant Parmesan is on the menu for this week – I’m trying a new recipe, of course, with roasted eggplant instead of the usual fried.   Plus I want to make an apple pie – today felt like the most perfect fall day!  I’m almost ready to clean out the garden – wow, I can’t believe I’m excited to do it! 


At 9/23/2011 08:59:00 PM , Blogger Melissa Keith said...

We rented the car for our Slovenia/Italy trip in Venice. Surprisingly good rate from Hertz. Be sure to check at offices other than the Airport or Rail station. Ours was a short taxi ride away from the airport and waaay better price.

At 9/23/2011 11:08:00 PM , Blogger Lee Laurino said...

have you thought of an open jaw flight? in to perhaps rome, out of venice (milan is always cheaper but i hate the bus to the airport).

your blog always makes me anxious to get "home to Italy"

At 9/24/2011 03:15:00 AM , Blogger Gil said...

This trip sounds like a lot of work. G-d bless you two for having such energy. I wouldn't mind revisiting parts of Umbria like: Spello, Monte Falcone and Bevegna!!!!

At 9/24/2011 08:33:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

thanks for that tip Melissa, we'll cehck several places - including Slovenia, just to compare.

Lee, we've thought about open jaws, and no, I do NOt want to fly in or out of Milan! I'm going to talk to my travel agent about open jaws - or just bite the bullet and make it simple - Venice.

Gil, after living in Umbria for nearly 7 yrs Umbria will always be a part of our visits to Italy! I'm trying to make the trip as efficient as possible, but right now I'm still considering lots of options.

At 9/24/2011 09:48:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just excited to read about your travel plans because I know you will have a lot of fun to share here soon. Welcome back to frequent postings on your blog.


At 9/30/2011 12:29:00 AM , Blogger Lee Laurino said...

i just re read some of you posts, i have not found ANY flights from the east coast for $900! shall have to be more diligent. actually since i have time and less money, am looking at freighters for going over but they are $150 a day!

At 9/30/2011 11:37:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

Lee, apparently Delta just dropped the cost of flights, so we can now fly from Louisville to Venice for $898 - but I'm STILL not sure.....


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